Prescription Med Use in Children Down Overall From 1999 to 2014

Increases seen in 8 medication classes, including asthma and ADHD medications, contraceptives
Increases seen in 8 medication classes, including asthma and ADHD medications, contraceptives

HealthDay News — From 1999 to 2014 there was a decrease in prescription medication use overall among children and adolescents, according to a study published in the May 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Craig M. Hales, MD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues examined trends in use of prescription medications among US children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 years using data from the 1999 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Prescription medication data were available for 38,277 children and adolescents. 

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The researchers found that from 1999-2002 to 2011-2014 there was a decrease in use of any prescription medications in the past 30 days, from 24.6 to 21.9%; no linear trend was seen in the use of two or more prescription medications. Asthma medications, antibiotics, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, topical agents, and antihistamines were the most commonly used medication classes in 2011 to 2014. In 14 of 39 therapeutic classes or subclasses, or in individual medications, significant linear trends were observed, with increases in 8, including asthma and ADHD medications and contraceptives, and decreases in 6, including antibiotics, antihistamines, and upper respiratory combination medications.

"The prevalence of asthma medication, ADHD medication, and contraceptive use increased among certain age groups, whereas use of antibiotics, antihistamines, and upper respiratory combination medications decreased," the authors write.

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